The path of an artist is the unveiling of their intuition. It’s not a defined project but rather the dialogue process between the gesture and the answer of the artwork, which tells what it is. All that remains for the artist is the humility of accepting the work manifestation upon the intuitive gesture.
I was introduced to Gabriel Wickbold’s work as a constituted rite; a structured project rarely found as organized as his. The beauty of entering the authorial universe rests in the possibility of detecting a thread left by the artist inside their labyrinth. Life can only make sense in retrospect.
This exhibition encompasses five distinct modules whose productions were conceived over ten years. When we look at these stories united, we see a trail left on the path. This reveals something about the double meaning of the word surface when read in its different forms: sur_face (over the face) and surface (regarding something’s uppermost layer).
Wickbold’s raw material is the human face and the possibilities of intervening in a portrait as a construction field for a new identity that overlaps the photographed subject, as we see in the Se xual Colors and Naïve series. However, by relating face and gesture, the surface shows something that is no longer the face or the gesture. The eternal element of the face meets the ephemeral element of the gesture.
There emerges the clear intention of scratching the surface, and Wickbold’s research doesn’t stop there. There’s a quest to engage in a transformation process whose intention is no longer manageable. Influenced by land fraud’s (grilagem) dubious tactics in the North of Brazil, Wickbold hands over pictures to crickets – literally, to the insects themselves - so they co-author the work. Through this process, the artist transforms each portrait into a unique and irreproducible work and ventures into artistic interspecies cooperation. Something is rotten in the realm of nature. Sans Tache is Wickbold’s detachment from the School of Photography and his approach to other visual arts expressions.
In everything Wickbold does, there’s hidden research involved. A legitimate study that stems from the intuition, almost naïve, that the world can still be invented. And it can. If, on the one hand, digital connections challenge the skin as the human body’s largest organ, on the other, we still possess our most powerful antennas on the epidermis. In I Am Online, the artist investigates the friction between the human tissue and the internet tissue, thus revealing layers, noises and some disconnection between what we perceive and how we feel. This is the reverse process to that of I Am Light, in which Wickbold turns into traces of the light reflected by glitter on human skin, unveiling the surface through its absence.
During the period of the social cloister, due to the 2020 pandemic, Wickbold has plunged into creating something that could represent this moment of tactile disconnection, which could translate the craving for physical closeness so present in our minds and hearts during social distancing. Here, he reflects upon contact, touch, isolation, the uncertainty and the darkening of our lives. The works dabble in a hybrid medium between studio photography, digital manipulation and painting directly over the image. It’s a process in which there’s accumulation and loss. Before the blurred images, we enquire ourselves whether we’re missing out on something we know or if we’re on the verge of seeing something new.
Anxiety, hidden identity and physical distance are themes enforced by Wickbold on the portraits. This series evokes the Buddhist notion of “bardo”, which means the state of existence intermediate between death and rebirth. The series aims to epitomize the transient place between losing a physical connection and the desire for contact. It brings the melancholy of separation and the energy of friction. What one sees is no longer a studio rite but a work of abstraction that captures the social moment in which it was conceived. As from SóMóS, the artist detaches his work from photography and creates a new language.
The great selection factor in life’s food chain is the determination of its agents. Wickbold is an unquestionably determined creator.
The naïveté of human beings who regard themselves as superior to nature is the starting point for this series. The dry, cracked face has no colour; it is the basis for elements such as flowers, fruits, and insects. The frame imposes a limit and reveals only the head, the essential. It represents man's greed. This installation creates an unprecedented and, to a certain extent, disturbing effect. A philosophical expression of man's submission to nature.
Naïve #16POS GW 312 01$13,000.00 Naïve #2POS GW 312 02$13,000.00 Naïve #17POS GW 312 03$11,000.00 Naïve #15POS GW 312 04$13,000.00 Naïve #27POS GW 312 05$11,000.00
In 2006, I planned an exploratory mission to photograph the people living along the São Francisco River. The 45-day trip from the source to the mouth of Velho Chico (Old Chico) not only yielded my first photographic series – called “Brazilians”– but also became a source of inspiration that kept on shaping my way of seeing colours and textures.
There I met simple, illiterate people forgotten by society. Fighters with light in their eyes struggle to live but have an easy smile. By looking at them, I now understand how much the experience has shaped my view of the world. It produced the spark that would become the foundation for all my subsequent works: THE POWER AND FRAGILITY OF THE HUMAN BEING.
Brasileiros #93POS GW 312 06$6,000.00 Brasileiros #33POS GW 312 07$4,000.00 Brasileiros #34POS GW 312 08$4,000.00 Brasileiros #95POS GW 312 09$4,000.00 Brasileiros #106POS GW 312 10$4,000.00
I Am Online
The excessive connectivity in social media suffocates the human being, preventing our generation from living in the here and now. We spend most of our time hypnotized, assessing a torrent of information that passes before our eyes. The problem lies in how we hold a dialogue with the truth. This claustrophobic performance aims to represent each one of us. “I_am_online” employs the line to show a sensory experience of colour and texture.
I Am Online #38POS GW 312 11$15,000.00 I Am Online #17POS GW 312 12$15,000.00 I Am Online #2POS GW 312 13$15,000.00 I Am Online #49POS GW 312 14$12,000.00 I Am Online #50POS GW 312 15$15,000.00 I Am Online #45POS GW 312 16$18,000.00